Confusion on DeviantArt

I’ve been browsing through Photography > People&Portraits, looking for a photo I once saw but forgot to +fav it. And then I got stumped by the sub-categories — they apparently didn’t mean the same thing to different photographers.

To my uneducated eyes, there’s little difference between ‘Emotive‘ and ‘Expressive‘ photos. Understandable, because the descriptions of these two categories leave the interpretation rather subjective.

In some other categories that should have quite clearer borders, however, I am utterly confused. I have no idea how ‘classical’ is defined in ‘Classic Portraits’ description, or ‘spontaneous’ in ‘Spontaneous Portraits’. Reading the descriptions was educational, but hardly helpful.

In the ‘Classic Portraits‘ case, most photographers seem to see the word ‘classic’ and run away with it. This means the category is overrun by photos of people in period clothings, famous (or would-be famous) photos (as in being seen on the internet for a long period of time[1]), and some others that beg for a question: which dictionary are you using, exactly?

While browsing in ‘Spontaneous Portraits‘, I amused myself by imagining the photographer stopping the time to adjust the pose, arrange the props to his heart’s content, then flicking the time right on and shooting.Or surely, if there’s at least a single strand of hair out of place, a blade of grass stuck on the leggings, the photograph could be considered ‘spontaneous’.

After awhile, the best practice for using DeviantArt Browse is to come up with my own descriptions, trying to match the categories with the general trends of posted works.

This is actually fun :)

Artistic Nude‘: more in-your-face nude than usual
Classic Portrait‘: photographer’s favourite works
Emotive‘: mostly moody-sad-contemplative close-ups and, unsurprisingly, lots of ’emo’
Expressive‘: like emotive, but more mime-like
Miscellaneous‘: posted by honest photographers who admit to not knowing what the fuss these categories are about.
Costplay‘: clothes that normal people won’t wear to church on Sunday.
Pin up‘: I rather like this. It’s mostly girls in minuscule clothes with provocative poses, posted by frank photographers with no pretension to be ‘artistic’.

—-

[1] This generates even more confusion to me, since a measure of ‘long time’ is definitely relative on the internet, without the need to proof Einstein’s General Relativity Theory. Nowadays, something being circulated around for two weeks can be ‘classic’.

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2 Comments to “Confusion on DeviantArt”

  1. To my surprise, I also can’t possibly figure out what those categories really mean when I encounter them.

    At first I thought ‘Artistic Nude’ would be something purely artistic but the reality is the contrary – some are pure pornography. (BTW, why this example is up to wild guess ;D )

    I don’t know how to search for specific artwork at DA website after all these years. Maybe Dark Arts is the appropriate full name because I might somehow need them to perform Magick.

    Good luck browsing!

  2. Haha, this was funny. I totally understand what you’re getting at her ethough.

    Surely the idea, the concept behind the categories had the best intentions, but really, it does make for more confusion. Personally, when submitting photos (deltay on dA, in case you ever wanted to check out my stuff) a few were somewhat borderline between categories and it was hard to decide just where to submit them.

    But it is aggravating looking thorugh a category, searching for a specific type of art, only to find a bunch of random crap in that category that’s entirely irrelevant.

    Mostly I just don’t bother with categories much any more, or at the very least try to remain as broad as possible. ;) Good luck finding that photoagain.

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